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Farm Ramblings

On growing pickling cucumbers

In the past we have always set out a dozen or more cucumber hills using a mix of seed and pre-potted plants. The plants started directly from seed always did far better than the potted ones despite the delayed start. Plants from seed grow broad, dark green leaves while the potted ones are often yellow, sparse, and don't seem to fill out well.  It may seem to take longer for seeded plants, but they will quickly catch up and out-grow the potted ones. We no longer buy potted cucs.

It's helpful to feed the cucumbers throughout the season as they require considerable nutrition to produce large crops. We generally water daily by hand, with water containing a dilute solution of commercial organic vegetable fertilizer that is low in nitrogen. We alternate this with a tea made of castings produced by our composting worms. Note that a pest can not thrive on a healthy plant. If your cucumber plants are being overrun by beetles, then your plants are not healthy. Using a chemical pesticide is CHEATING! Don't resort to chemicals. Instead, work to nurture healthy plants.

Cucumber plants will naturally die near the end of the season. This is when the leaves dry up and die back, exposing those huge yellow cucumbers that somehow avoided detection. These will provide the seeds for next season. They also make great pig and chicken feed. Happy pickling!

Shagbark Hickory Soap for Muscle Pain

Magnesium is essential for the healthy function of muscle tissue, and is particularly important in muscle relaxation. Common causes of lower back and other muscle pain are muscle spasm and cramping, which can be debilitating and often requires rest. These painful effects are largely attributed to electrolyte imbalance.

Native Americans prepared poultices from hickory bark as a treatment for the muscle fatigue, muscle pain, and arthritis pain. Hickory bark is reportedly high in magnesium, and contains other trace minerals. Research suggests that magnesium is more readily available by skin absorption vs. oral administration.

We've formulated shagbark hickory extract into a soap based on the idea that daily use may help prevent muscle spasm and resultant pain. Personal testimony along with that from our test group of family and friends suggest that Shagbark Hickory Soap does help with these issues. Furthermore, we have a number of repeat customers (thank you!) who also report that "it works." The positive effects seem to be noticeable within 1-2 weeks of daily use. Importantly, the soap is not intended for or claimed as a treatment for chronic or acute pain, but should be more considered a possible preventative measure. Note also  that these claims are not FDA approved. 

Turkeywoods Farm Shagbark Hickory Soap is available in two varieties. One is scent free, and is a natural colored soap (i.e. no pigments added). The second is scented with lavender, and has natural purple pigment added which appears as a pretty swirl of violet. Other than that, the two are identical. Thanks for reading.